Peter Hoskin

The Miliband deception

The Miliband deception
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Ed Miliband's speech in Scotland this afternoon was a strange beast. So much of it was typical of the new Labour leader: for instance, the incessant stream of words like "optimism," "new" and "change". Some of it was rather surprising, such as the lengthy and warm tribute he paid to Gordon Brown at the start. One passage on the flaws of the Big Society (from a Labour perspective, natch) set out a philosophically intriguing dividing line. And his challenge over housing benefit was quite swashbuckling, in a Westminster-ish kind of way. But there's one line I'd like to focus on, because I'm sure it will come up again and again. Namely, this one:

"Remember, our government paid down the debt before the crisis hit."

So unless your definition of "paid down the debt" stretches to "about £500 billion of debt in 2006-07 (and rising)", then I'm afraid we've got to chalk this up as another Brownie.

P.S. Labour didn't pay down the debt as a percentage of GDP either. See the sixth graph on my post here.